Tracking Tesla: As Model 3s Hit the Streets, There's a New Way to Check Musk's Pace of Production

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tracking tesla as model 3s hit the streets theres a new way to check musks pace of

Since beginning production of the Model 3 last summer, Tesla has dialed back production targets like a thermostat in the springtime. The electric automaker’s first goal of 5,000 units per week by the end of the year passed as the champagne corks flew on New Year’s Eve, but by that time Tesla had already pushed it back to the end of Q1 2018.

Amid troubles on the assembly line, that target eventually moved to the end of the second quarter of this year, a goal that still stands.

Just how many Model 3s is Tesla cranking out these days? The company only reports deliveries on a quarterly basis, making it hard to get a firm read on the company’s exact output. One publication hopes to change that.

Enter the Tesla Model 3 Tracker, courtesy of Bloomberg News.

As of February 14th, Bloomberg calculates that the Fremont, California factory has cobbled together 7,341 Model 3 since production began, and can now boast — or at least claim — a production rate of 1,025 vehicles per week.

Between the mid-summer production start and December 31, 2017, Tesla delivered 1,770 Model 3s. Things are clearly ramping up, though perhaps not as quickly as CEO Elon Musk would like. So, how did Bloomberg land on these figures?

The tracker keeps tabs on the Model 3 as best it can via “data from official U.S. government resources, social media reports, and direct communication with Tesla owners,” the publication states. There’s also two methods at work.

The first tracks VIN registrations at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By compiling batches of VINs registered with the agency, then factoring in the intervening time period, a rough production rate arises. Rough, because automakers can register as many VINs at one time as they please. The second method takes things into the real world.

As Tesla owners and fans often display a great predilection for talking about all things Tesla on social media sites, blogs, and forums, VIN data often becomes available from photos posted to these sources. Other VINs are reported directly to Bloomberg, giving it a better sense of the pace of deliveries. (The publication’s constantly updating page offers an easy way to submit.)

Quarterly delivery data posted by Tesla will find its way to the page, retroactively refining the estimate. So, why did Bloomberg go to the trouble? For the same reason why we’re interested in it. Lofty, frequently changing promises from a rarely profitable company attempting something never done before require a dose of reality once in a while.

The tracker, if you choose to view it this way, is as much about measuring the worth of Musk’s words as it is about measuring Model 3s in the wild.

[Image: Tesla]

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  • Coopergt Coopergt on Feb 15, 2018

    I think most of them are in Southern California, i see lots in San Diego.

    • Ejwu Ejwu on Feb 15, 2018

      I see quite a few here in SF bay area too.

  • Amca Amca on Feb 18, 2018

    I saw one at the dealer in Chicago. The back seat is a total joke - the floor is so high a 6 footer's knees are in his chest. In trying to make the car pretty, and still have a battery under the floor, they've created a not very practical car. Feels jokey.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.